Free Thinking Festival

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06Free Thinking Festival20121112

Martin Goodman, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, gives a talk on the perils of writing biographies, recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

"Following in the footsteps" is an obsession for biographers as they travel the world to bring their subjects to life, sometimes with dangerous consequences.

Hull University Professor of Creative Writing Martin Goodman, biographer of the sorcerer Carlos Castaneda, draws on visits to high peaks, the sea-bed, coal mines and monasteries to reveal the challenges of the biographer's art.

The Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Amos Oz, one of Israel's most influential thinkers, gives a talk on the Middle East and the prospect of future co-existence between Israel and Palestine at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

A best-selling novelist, essayist and journalist, Amos Oz is frequently cited as a possible candidate to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Oz's work has been published in 41 languages, including Arabic, and he is known as a prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His books include the semi-autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness, a portrait of war-torn Jerusalem in the 1950s, and the recent collection of stories Scenes from a Village Life.

The event is chaired by Night Waves presenter Philip Dodd and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

07Free Thinking Festival20121113

Nandini Das, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, gives a talk on the 16th Century craze for crime pamphlets, recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

Crime fiction and travel writing are regulars on the book charts today. But long before the charts were invented it was the crime pamphlet that seized the nation's imagination.

Nandini Das explores the late sixteenth-century craze that revealed a new secret world to readers and became the first best-selling phenomenon of the popular press.

The Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Rana Mitter chairs a debate about World History at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival, with historian Antony Beevor, broadcaster Andrew Marr and India expert Maria Misra.

Does World History really still mean Western History, or do we need a radical new understanding of the past?

Antony Beevor is our leading military historian and author of the best-selling history books The Second World War and Stalingrad. Andrew Marr's landmark series A New History of the World is airing on BBC1, and he has published the book A History of the World. And Maria Misra is Fellow in Modern History at the University of Oxford and author of Vishnu's Corwded Temple, India since the Great Rebellion.

The event is hosted by Chinese History expert and Radio 3's Night Waves presenter Rana Mitter, and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

08Free Thinking Festival20121114

Joshua Nall, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, gives a talk on the Victorian obsession with the planet Mars at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

With the recent success of NASA's Curiosity lander, Mars is firmly back on the agenda. But where did our fascination with the red planet start?

Cambridge University historian Joshua Nall returns to Mars, as it was seen a century ago, when science and literature buzzed with claims about inhabitants on the neighbouring planet.

The Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Vicky Featherstone gives a talk on the idea of a modern national theatre, recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

Vicky is the founding Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, whose award-winning productions include Black Watch, based on the testimonies of British soldiers in Iraq, and Enquirer, a timely examination of the media.

She is about to become the new Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre in London.

As Scotland heads towards a referendum on independence, Vicky Featherstone discusses the role of a modern day national theatre in shaping and capturing national identity and history.

The event is hosted by Night Waves presenter Anne McElvoy, and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

09Free Thinking Festival20121115

Sue-Ann Harding gives a talk entitled Expat or Immigrant at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

What is the difference between being an expat and an immigrant? Can a citizen still be a migrant?

Originally from Australia, Sue-Ann Harding was a migrant in the UK at the University of Manchester researching Russia's Beslan hostage disaster, and is now an expat in Qatar at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

She draws on television portrayals of migrants and personal experience to explore and challenge the ideas we have about migration.

The Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Philip Dodd chairs a debate on Immigration and the Challenge to Belonging at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

What does it mean to belong today?

Immigration is a highly sensitive and polarising issue that throws up big questions about belonging and identity. Multiculturalism, integration and social division are increasingly part of the political debate. But what impact does immigration have on everyone's sense of national identity?

Debaters include the director of the influential Demos think-tank David Goodhart, Alp Mehmet, who is Vice Chairman of Migration Watch and one of Britain's first ambassadors from an ethnic minority, and the political activist and head of British Future Sunder Katwala.

The event is hosted by Night Waves presenter Philip Dodd, and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121119

Anne McElvoy chairs a debate titled Hell is Other People at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

As our global population increases, the world is becoming an ever more connected place, with social media such as Facebook and Twitter encouraging us to engage with other people 24/ 7.

Does this mean we are becoming more sociable, or is hyperconnectivity and overcrowding actually making us more lonely?

To debate this crucial issue Anne McElvoy is joined by the broadcaster and former foreign correspondent Kate Adie, the clinical psychologist and best-selling author Oliver James, the Times columnist David Aaronovitch and the popular philosopher Julian Baggini.

The event is recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival of ideas, which takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121120

Julie Bindel gives a talk arguing that sexuality is a choice at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

Whether sexuality is genetic or not goes to the heart of the ongoing debate about same-sex marriage. Are gay rights activists right to insist sexuality has biological origins, or is it a lifestyle choice as claimed by some traditionalists?

In a talk titled Not Born This Way, the feminist, lesbian, columnist and writer Julie Bindel challenges liberal thinking by arguing that sexuality is indeed a choice, and that the current scientific quest to identify a gay gene is both pointless and dangerous.

The event is chaired by Night Waves presenter Samira Ahmed and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121122

Jeremy Bowen and Tarek Osman discuss Revolution, Democracy and the Arab Spring at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

What kind of societies will the Arab Spring give birth to? Democratic, Capitalist, Islamic, or Unstable?

The revolutions sweeping the Arab World have led to the introduction of democratic rule in some countries. But is a new kind of non-western democracy emerging, and what are the implications for our world?

Jeremy Bowen is the BBC's Middle East Editor and author of The Arab Uprisings, and Tarek Osman is an Egyptian political economist and author of Egypt on the Brink.

The event is chaired by Night Waves presenter Samira Ahmed and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121129

Economist Ian Goldin gives a talk on Globalisation and the Future at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival.

Ian Goldin has been Vice President of the World Bank and advisor to Nelson Mandela. He is now Professor of Globalisation at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Martin School, a new college dedicated to researching the big concerns of the 21st Century, from ageing and poverty to political conflict and technological change.

At Free Thinking, Ian Goldin explores whether globalisation is a force for good, or whether it will be the source of an ever more unequal and unstable world.

Presented by Anne McElvoy.

Producer: Neil Trevithick.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121206

Colm Toibin is one of Ireland's finest writers, whose books explore issues such as Catholicism, immigration and homosexuality.

His 2009 novel Brooklyn won the Costa novel of the Year, and his latest The Testament of Mary is a controversial re-imagining of the life of the Virgin Mary.

In an extended interview recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at The Sage Gateshead, Philip Dodd talks to Colm Toibin about his own life, his ideas, and thoughts on literature.

Producer: Philippa Ritchie.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121213

Columnist and youth worker Lindsay Johns argues that we should stop listening to the young, in a talk recorded Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival.

In many ways Britain's youth is in crisis, trapped by rising debt and unemployment. And yet youth culture has never been more influential or all-pervasive.

Lindsay Johns argues that we need to stop pandering to young people, and that all too often we tell them only what they want to hear. John's a writer and broadcaster, runs a youth mentoring scheme in South London.

Controversially, he believes we are "genuflecting at the altar of youth".

This event was recorded earlier in November at The Sage Gateshead, at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival. The presenter is Rana Mitter.

Producer: Laura Thomas.

2012Free Thinking Festival20121220

Rana Mitter talks to the best-selling novelist Philippa Gregory about writing historical fiction and her fascination with the Tudors, recorded at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

Philippa Gregory's fiction turns the spotlight on the lives of women at significant moments in history. Her Tudor series of novels includes The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a Hollywood film, and her most recent collection is set during the War of the Roses, England's epic power struggle between the Houses of Lancaster and York. BBC1 have turned these novels into a major drama series to air in 2013.

In an event recorded at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival at The Sage Gateshead earlier in November in front of a live audience, Philippa Gregory reveals why she went from academia to fiction, how her approach to Tudor characters such as Thomas Cromwell differs from other historial novelists such as Hilary Mantel, whose Wolf Hall won the Man Booker prize, and why she can't help interfering with drama scripts of her novels.

201210Free Thinking Festival20121116

Matthew Smith, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, gives a talk on peanuts and the rise of food allergies at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival, entitled Peanut Panic.

Food allergies now affect 15 million people in North America and the UK. And drastic measures are being taken to protect the public, including banning peanuts from places where they were once commonplace: airplanes, sports arenas and schools.

Medical historian Matthew Smith, of Strathclyde University, explores the current obsession with allergies revealing why, in the space of a decade, the peanut has become food enemy number one.

The Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel gives a talk on Evolution and Humanity - What Next? at the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival.

Why have humans evolved to speak so many incomprehensible languages? Why do we work against our own survival by going to war with one another?

Professor Mark Pagel, Head of the Evolution Laboratory at the University of Reading and author of Wired for Culture, argues that despite today's incredible cultural diversity, humanity has been steadily evolving from small tribes to huge nation states.

Are we moving towards a unified world of one language and one state?

The event is chaired by Night Waves presenter Rana Mitter and recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2012.

The Free Thinking festival of ideas takes place at The Sage Gateshead Friday 2 - Sunday 4 November and is broadcast for three weeks on Radio 3 from Friday 2 November.